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Nissan Leaf gets lower base price

Mon, 14 Jan 2013

Nissan Motor Co. will cut the base price of the slow-selling Leaf electric car by 18 percent, or $6,400, the automaker said Monday.

Nissan will sell a 2013 base Leaf S for $28,800, down from $35,200 on the 2012 base model.

Prices do not include destination charges, which are $850 for the 2012 model and have not been announced for the 2013 version.

The 2013 Leaf will go on sale next month as a U.S.-built model for the first time.

Commercial production of the Leaf began this month in Smyrna, Tenn., where the automaker has invested $1.8 billion to create mass production for the EV.

Nissan has had trouble marketing the Leaf since it went on sale in December 2010 as a Japanese import, due in large part to its retail price.

Last year, the company predicted U.S. Leaf sales of 20,000. Instead it sold less than half that.

Sales of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids have been slow nationwide, in part because of high price tags.

Sales of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid have been aided by attractive lease deals. New EVs such as the Ford Focus EV have also increased competition.

Jose Munoz, who will become senior vice president for North American and South American sales and marketing in April, said that the Leaf will now transact for close to $18,800 for many U.S. customers once a $7,500 federal tax credit and various state incentives are figured into the purchase.

"This is going to represent a tipping point in our product," Munoz told reporters during a presentation by Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn.

By Lindsay Chappell- Automotive News